Brave Cashel girl Ciara (3) battling rare form of cancer

The plight of a toddler from Cashel who has been struck down by an very rare illness has rallied the local community in support for her family.

The plight of a toddler from Cashel who has been struck down by an very rare illness has rallied the local community in support for her family.

The plight of a toddler from Cashel who has been struck down by an very rare illness has rallied the local community in support for her family.

Ciara Casey will celebrate her third birthday next week in Crumlin Children’s Hospital where she is being treated for an illness so rare it is thought she is the only person in Ireland with the disease.

Little Ciara is receiving chemotherapy for a condition called ‘LCH’ - Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis, a rare form of cancer that her family have been told will be treated with 52 weeks of chemotherapy - but the condition is so rare that consultants are taking her treatment on almost a day-to-day basis. One person in four million is thought to be affected by LCH.

Since she was diagnosed, six weeks ago, Ciara has only spent one night at home in Cashel.

Parents Peter and Susan are keeping a watching vigil at Ciara’s bedside, and have told family members that this week their daughter is showing signs of picking up a little, after several weeks of not speaking to her parents or showing any interest in her surroundings.

Peter, Susan and Ciara live at Carrig Downs, on the Dualla Road in Cashel.

It was first discovered that Ciara suffered from the rare condition six weeks ago when she was being treated for swelling around her eye and a tumour was found. Signs of illness also include a skin rash, poor hair growth and thirst for water - all symptoms which Ciara had from a baby but LCH is very hard to detect and it was only when they were accumulated that a diagnosis could be made. In her short life she had attended a dietician because she was frail and underweight, a dermatologist and an eye specialist for the separate complaints. LCH can affect patients differently.

Ciara was first in Crumlin for two weeks of tests. She came home to Cashel but was very ill that night and was brought to South Tipp General Hospital. She remained so weak that she was transferred back to Crumlin from there.

Last week was a traumatic one for the Casey family when little Ciara was rushed in to emergency surgery when she started to haemorrhage.

Peter and Susan are renting a room in Crumlin hospital to be with Ciara 24/7. Peter has taken time off from his job at Minogue Furniture and the ordeal is a financial as well as an emotional strain on the family.

“It’s a very emotional and draining time for Peter and Susan,” Theresa Casey, Peter’s sister told The Nationalist. She said the extended family have not been able to see Ciara because she is in isolation, but she paid tribute to the “really, really fantastic” medical staff at Crumlin Hospital.

This week there will be two fundraising events for Ciara and her family.

The Dun Henry Quinn Restaurant, Friar Street, will hold a coffee morning this Friday, March 30, from 10am to 3pm.

Premier Harriers are running a fun ride on Sunday, April 1, from Dundrum through the woods, scenic route. Any queries please contact Tom 087 2596275 or Gerry 087 2545565.